Stabbed to death following an altercation at a school-sponsored dance in October of 2009, Jasper Howard‘s parents are seeking significant financial compensation for the parties they believe are at least partly responsible for their son’s death.
A Connecticut claims commissioner, the Hartford Courant writes, “is considering a request by Howard’s parents… to file a lawsuit against UConn for damages ‘in excess of ‘$5 million‘.” The paper goes on to explain that “[t]he state, by law, enjoys immunity from most lawsuits unless the claims commissioner grants a request to sue.”
Months of depositions will take place before the claims commissioner makes a decision on whether a lawsuit against UConn should go forward.
A lawsuit against the company that provided security the night of their son’s death seeking unspecified monetary damages has already been filed.
The cornerback became mixed up in a confrontation involving a group of UConn students and a group of non-UConn students, altercations that allegedly took place both during the Oct. dance and after. The non-UConn group went back to their vehicles following one of the verbal altercations, and at least two armed themselves with knives and returned to confront the group of UConn students.
Howard, along with teammate Brian Parker, was stabbed in what the family’s attorney claims was the third altercation involving the group of non-UConn students. Howard, who was reportedly not involved in the original confrontation(s), died a short time later as a result of the injuries suffered in the stabbing. Parker recovered from his injuries.
The school claims it is not responsible for Howard’s death and that the family should not be permitted to sue the university.
The murder of Jasper Howard was a terrible and senseless tragedy. Although we strongly condemn this brutal crime and continue to express our condolences to Jasper Howard’s family and friends, the State of Connecticut is not legally liable for his death,” Associate Attorney General Perry Zinn-Rowthorn and Assistant Attorney General Michael R. Bullers wrote in March 2011.
“The legislature has determined that the State – and by extension its taxpayers – shall only bear legal and financial responsibility for claims in which the State has caused the damage or injury that is the subject of the claim. Based on the foregoing, the [state] respectfully denies liability in this claim.”
In response to the civil suit, the company that provided security for the dance shot back that Howard himself was to blame for his death.
“Any injuries, damages or losses suffered by the plaintiffs’ decedent, Jasper Howard, were a direct and proximate result of the negligence and carelessness of Jasper Howard, and his own actions or inactions were the primary and substantial factor” in what happened to him.
Howard “initiated, instigated, caused and/or became involved “in either a “verbal altercation” or a “physical altercation,” or both, Paice wrote.
John Lomax was sentenced to 18 years in prison last March after pleading no contest to first-degree manslaughter in connection to Howard’s death. Hakim Muhammad was sentenced to over two years for the stabbing of Parker.